Arguments against the existence of god

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Arguments against the existence of god



God claims

There are an infinite possible number of gods. Over a thousand different denominations of Christianity alone, all with their different beliefs on who or what god is. Surely it would be impossible to rule them all out. However if we zero in and examine a theistic claim about a specific god's nature or character, we can draw certain conclusions based on what we've learned about the world through the systematic observations and testing of reality known as science. Despite the theistic assertions that god cannot be caged by science, these specific claims made by the theist can be assessed. As our understanding of the world has increased through science, the gaps that god is able to inhabit have gotten smaller and smaller. With every additional piece of information we learn about the world, the more the constraints tighten on what a god could have or can do. This is perhaps best stated in Stephen Hawking's a brief history of time.

Stephen Hawking in A brief history of time c.1988

"One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterward in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!"

With our current understanding of our place in the world through biology and astrophysics, we are able to make assessments about certain aspects or claims of god. We have mountains of empirical evidence that life is a result of evolution, not specific intentional creation by an omnipotent being as depicted in genesis. We have mathematical evidence that the Noah's ark could not have stayed afloat during a rainstorm of such capacity that earth's highest peaks were submerged. We have historical evidence that the Israelites were never enslaved by the Egyptians as depicted in Exodus. As it currently stands, our understanding of the universe places the necessity and likelihood of a god or gods, to be on about the same footing as the tooth fairy.

Strong Atheism vs.Agnosticism

Strong atheism is the position that we should not suspend judgment about the non-existence of gods. Agnosticism is the position that we should suspend judgment on the existence or non-existence of gods.

If strong atheism is true, then agnosticism is invalid. One can give various strong-atheistic arguments to prove the validity of strong-atheism and therefore disprove agnosticism.

Many agnostics posit that we do not or cannot have any knowledge on the god-concept, and that this their justification for their agnosticism. If one posits that no knowledge is possible, for instance because human beings are too limited for their arguments to have any weight, then one can deny any argument. This is the most popular agnostic position.

It is certainly an attractive position, especially for nihilists. If we cannot really know anything, then ignorance is a privileged position.

While we can argue this from an epistemic standpoint, by affirming the power of science and rational thinking, or by demonstrating why reason is our means to knowledge, there is a very simple way to express the incoherency. Agnosticism, by denying the non-existence of gods, posits that the existence of gods is possible. Starting from this, we must ask agnostics the following:

How can you derive meaning from a concept you can know nothing about?

If one presupposes that no knowledge about “god” is possible, including semantic knowledge, then one cannot give any objective meaning to “god”. Therefore the proposition “the existence of gods is possible”, which is part of agnosticism, becomes meaningless, and so is agnosticism made meaningless.

Another direct and critical problem with such an agnosticism is that it is self-refuting. If we are impotent beings, if we can make no statement of knowledge, then certainly we cannot claim to know this.

We do not, in fact, need to be unlimited beings in order to make propositions about hypothetical unlimited beings.

Notable counter arguments

v · d Arguments against the existence of god
Existential arguments   Argument from nonbelief · Who created God? · Turtles all the way down · Problem of non-God objects · Argument from incompatible attributes · No-reason argument · Santa Claus argument · Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it? · Outsider test
Arguments from the Bible   Failed Prophecy · Biblical contradictions
Arguments against belief   Evidentiary argument
Reasonableness arguments   Occam's Razor · Outsider test · Argument from locality · Argument from inconsistent revelations
Other arguments   Emotional pleas against the existence of God
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